OUR 2015 EXHIBITION
This past year we were gratified to see America's favorite artist continue to garner the respect and recognition that his legacy so rightly deserves. Neiman was given a one-man show, primarily featuring some of his most beloved sports subjects, at the prestigious Louisiana State University Museum of Art in Baton Rouge last summer. At the end of last year, Neiman's work was part of a group show at the Inside-Out Art Museum in Beijing. In addition, a monumental jazz painting, which adorned a large wall in LeRoy's studio for many years, was recently installed for permanent exhibition at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.
As LeRoy Neiman's largest dealer for over 40 years, Franklin Bowles Galleries is proud to continue to introduce generations, both new and old, to this remarkable artist's life and work.
Our latest exhibition features over 150 works on paper from the artist's personal archives, most never before exhibited in public. They display a wide variety of subjects, and embody the rich diversity and scope of interests that preoccupied their creator. The collection also includes a stellar array of the finest Neiman paintings we were able to acquire over the past year, from public and private sources throughout the world.
We owe a resounding debt of gratitude to the LeRoy Neiman Foundation without whose continued and dedicated collaboration, collections as fine as this would simply not be possible.
Coinciding with the celebration of Jazz Appreciation Month in April, the LeRoy Neiman Foundation made a generous donation of $2.5 million to the Smithsonian Institution for an endowment to foster the expansion of the museum's jazz programming. Neiman's monumental painting, "Big Band," was also donated to the museum. LeRoy considered this epic jazz painting one of the greatest accomplishments of his career. The painting is 9-by-13 feet and features 18 iconic jazz musicians. It was unveiled just inside of the museum's Constitution Avenue entrance, adjacent to the planned Neiman Jazz Cafe. These gifts are all part of the Smithsonian's new five-year plan for jazz programming, which will feature an array of jazz-related exhibitions, activities and live music.
The museum is located on Constitution Avenue, between 12th and 14th streets N.W., and is open daily from 10 a.m.to 5:30 p.m. Admission is free. For Smithsonian information, the public may call (202) 633-1000.
VIEW EXHIBITION CATALOG (click "Expand" to view)
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THE ART OF SERIGRAPHY
The Femlins are not only original drawings by Neiman, they are a great example of 20th-century Americana; they symbolize the Playboy aesthetic of the 1960s and 70s and are icons of popular culture. In the early 1950's, just before Playboy magazine was conceived, LeRoy Neiman and Hugh Hefner worked together at the Chicago department store Carson Pirie Scott.
When Hefner had the idea to start his men's magazine, he asked Neiman to do the original artwork, and the "Femlin" was born! Neiman envisioned her as being 12" tall, so in most of the illustrations she's in that scale. She's depicted as being mischievous, and as her name suggests, she's a female gremlin. Starting in 1957, every issue of Playboy had two black and white Femlins; she was usually on the jokes page behind the centerfold. Amazingly, Neiman contributed two Femlins drawings for every monthly issue, for 50 years.The illustrations were created as "camera-ready" line-art, to be photographed and then reduced for inclusion in Playboy Magazine.
These are fascinating, unique pieces of 20th-century art and culture and are available only through our galleries because of the 40-year long friendship between Franklin Bowles and LeRoy Neiman.